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This indispensable sourcebook covers conceptual and practical issues in research design in the field of social and personality psychology. Key experts address specific methods and areas of research, contributing to a comprehensive overview of contemporary practice. This updated and expanded second edition offers current commentary on social and personality psychology, reflecting the rapid development of this dynamic area of research over the past decade. With the help of this up-to-date text, both seasoned and beginning social psychologists will be able to explore the various tools and methods available to them in their research as they craft experiments and imagine new methodological possibilities.
This chapter reviews the statistical methods used to explore causal (directional) and noncausal research questions. Researchers have often regarded some statistical procedures as experimental and other statistical procedures as nonexperimental (e.g., correlation, structural equation modeling). The chapter discusses practical issues that influence the implementation of the analysis and design features of the study relevant to that statistical procedure. The most widely used noncausal analysis in social-personality psychology is exploratory factor analysis (EFA). There are two major issues that should be taken into account when designing studies to be analyzed using EFA: selection of measured variables and selection of sample. The chapter overviews the major types of causal hypotheses. It explains the conditions necessary for establishing causal relations and comments on study design features and statistical procedures that assist in establishing these conditions. The chapter also reviews the statistical procedures used to test different types of causal hypotheses.